**This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.**
I am no car enthusiast nor a car
owner. But I once had thoughts of getting a car for myself. But how do you choose the right car
for you? Here’s a checklist as a guide..
 
Decide whether
you want to buy from a dealership, private seller, or an auction
Once
you’ve made the choice to shop for a car, the next decision you’ll face is
where to buy it from car dealerships are often the safest bet, and very useful
if buying a used because they are required by law to present the vehicle as
factually as possible. That means that you won’t have to worry as much about
surprises down the road. All new vehicles will come with a warranty and at most
dealerships even used vehicles will have a warranty of some kind.
If anything
covered under warranty goes wrong, you’ll be able to return to the dealership
and have them take care of the issue for you. Additionally, dealerships
generally offer financing options to allow you to pay for the car over time,
and most will also be happy to take your old car as a trade-in to help offset
the price. Private sellers, on the other hand, have a more intimate knowledge
of the vehicle itself, and can explain the car’s specific driving history.
Private sellers also have no ‘overhead,’ which means that they’re generally
willing to sell the car for significantly less.
Auctions
offer the potential for the lowest prices of all three options, but are also
the biggest risk. In all likelihood, you won’t even get the opportunity to test
drive an auction vehicle before you buy it.

Research the seller

 

Assuming
that you choose to buy from a dealership or a private seller, your next step is
to find out what you can about them. For dealerships, check online reviews to
see how happy (or unhappy) buyers have been with the quality of the vehicles
sold, and how willing they are to support their customers if something goes
wrong. Private sellers don’t generally have online reviews, but that shouldn’t
stop you from investigating them a little.
Likewise,
speak with the seller and ask about the car’s personal history. Ask to see
their identification, and compare it to the car’s title to see if the name’s
match. If the seller claims to be selling the car for a friend or relative,
then there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with a curbstoner.

Get to know the car

 

Once you’re
happy with the seller/dealership , the next step is to check out the car
itself. For a new vehicle this will deal mostly with your personal taste and
preferences. However if you’re buying a used-car you’ll have to do a little
digging to learn the condition of the car. You should probably expect a little
bit of wear and tear (unless the seller has assured you that there isn’t any),
and ask about any specific problems they car may have, so that you can factor
that information into your offer.
Pay
special attention to any dents, scrapes, dings, flaking paint, rust, hale
damage, or any other cosmetic damages that you may find. Check all of the glass
windows and the mirrors for cracks. Check the body panels to make sure they are
properly and evenly aligned (uneven body panels could indicate a car that has
been rebuilt following an accident).
Open the
engine, trunk, and all doors, and check to make sure that the hinges, handles,
keys and locks all work as they should. Check the car’s electrical systems,
including lights.

Drive the car

 

The test
drive may be the most important (and enjoyable) part of the car-buying process,
so make sure that you do it right. Get in the car and test all of the seat
belts to make sure that they function properly. Adjust your mirrors and get a
feel for the driver’s range of visibility (if the car features window-tint, you
may wish to test drive the vehicle at night so that you can get a feel for how
easy it is to see through the windows when it’s dark, not to mention give the
headlights a proper test).
If it’s
a used vehicle, turn on the engine, and before shifting the car into gear,
listen to sound that the car makes—if the engine noise is anything other than
smooth and uniform sounding, you may be dealing with a car that is in need of
repairs. Shift the car into gear, making note of any delays as the car changes
gears. As you drive, pay attention to the feel of the overall vehicle. Does it
pull to one direction or the other? Do the pedals lack firm pressure when you
depress them? Are the gauges or dashboard lights indicating any problems? Are
there any new noises being made by the car as you drive? Be aware that every
car will feel different when you first drive it, but issues such as
sluggishness or unresponsiveness may indicate bigger problems with the vehicle
itself.

Have the car inspected by a
mechanic

 

If you’re
looking at a used vehicle and you’re still interested after driving the car,
ask the dealership or private seller if they would be willing to allow you to
take the car to a vehicle mechanic. If the seller declines, then they may be
attempting to hide something from you, and you should be very careful about
continuing the transaction.
If you
get permission to take the car to a mechanic, you’ll likely have to pay for the
inspection yourself, but at least you’ll be getting an impartial, professional
opinion of what the car should be worth.

Take a step back

 

If
everything looks good, then you may have found the car for you. However, take
some time to catch your breath. Buying a car can be an exciting experience, and
it can be easy to get swept up in the frenzy of the purchase. Of course, the seller
may not wish to reserve the car for you while you make your decision, and many
will claim that they have other sellers who are interested in the vehicle—but
don’t let that push you into completing the sale before you’re ready. If the
car is sold to another party while you’re making your decision, then that’s
just the way it goes. Take a couple of days to think about the purchase,
carefully weighing the pros and cons. If, after a day or so, you’re still
interested, then contact the seller, because it’s time to talk price.

Close the deal

 

Unless
you’re happy to pay the asking price, you’re going to have to rely on your
negotiation skills to find an amount that both you and the seller are happy
with. Allow us to offer some advice: be honest. There’s no reason why you
should try to cheat the seller, and if you establish a relationship of trust,
the seller will be more likely to want to give you a good deal.



Here’s were
Cars.com gets in the picture. It’s a great resource to learning about your
potential purchase. Their website has a huge selection of information that will
provide you with everything you need to make an informed purchase. What’s good
about this website is that provide straight information on the car. No sugar
coating involved.

Buying
a brand new or used car can save you some serious money, but only if you take
the time to do it right. Keep these tips in mind, and you may just find
yourself driving home in a car that you love, without having to empty out your
bank account.

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